Trainer Mick Price believes that Royal Ocean is a genuine winning chance in what he believes is a weak edition of the 2014 Edward Manifold Stakes at Flemington tomorrow.
The Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1400m) has generally been the key lead-up race to the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m), with nine of the past 15 Thousand Guineas winners coming through the race, but Price believes that the changes of dates for the Thousand Guineas has led to the leading fillies taking a different route to the Group 1 event that will be held at Caulfield on October 11.
“This Manifold Stakes, given that it is seven days to the Thousand Guineas, is maybe the lesser of the three-year-old fillies races this year,” Price told Racing Ahead.
“It used to be the lead-up for the Thousand Guineas because it was a week and a half, but you can see what is happening the better fillies are all going to run straight into the Thousand Guineas now.”
Royal Ocean made her racing debut with a seventh place finish behind Earthquake in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) at Caulfield on February 8 and returned to racing after a stint in the spelling paddock with place finishes at Geelong and Bendigo.
The daughter of Fastnet Rock raced erratically when she finished third behind Berning Desire in the Jack London Plate (1600m) at Sandown on September 3, but recorded a maiden black type win with a narrow victory in the Listed Morphettville Guineas (1600m) in Adelaide on September 13.
Price does not believe that Royal Ocean has taken any improvement from her victory, but he is confident that she will produce a typically tough performance in the Edward Manifold Stakes and give herself every chance to add another important win to her racing resume.
“She is a very gutsy filly,” Price said.
“She is well-placed, she is very fit and I am sure that she will be well ridden and up handy.
“The mile is good for her and I would love to see her win it, but I think what we saw in Adelaide was here at her top.
“I can’t say that she has improved.”
Royal Ocean is currently available at 2014 Edward Manifold Stakes odds of $8.50, while undefeated filly Maastricht ($3) has been extremely well-backed and is a clear $3 favourite with Ladbrokes Australia.